It’s Simple, Really!!

How does a Christian maneuver the polarizing positions of the day without being overwhelmed by it all? How do we protect our hearts from being stunned by all the stress in the world? How do we manage to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy in a deeply divided world? The answer for the Christian is quite simple. It’s found in the second letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church to warn and protect them from the “super-apostles” that were leading them away from a sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. 
 

Paul’s sage advice appears in 2 Corinthians Chapter 11, Verse 3: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (NKJV) The ESV (and several other translations) interpret it to read, “be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

I find that truth very helpful in keeping me focused on what matters most. I need to pause the flow of information and reconnect with a person, Jesus. This is the re-set point for us as Christians. If any thought, act, word, idea or person is leading us away from love for Jesus, we need to self-correct. 

Do you see Paul’s point? Christianity is about relationship with Jesus. The simplicity that God wants you to experience today is the simplicity of restored relationship. Stay tight with Jesus. Stay close to the Father’s heart. Remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

The GOSPEL is much more than a philosophy or a theology to defend. It’s a relationship to be enjoyed. I fear knowing the Gospel so well and being able to defend it bravely while missing the relationship with Jesus Himself. Staying tight with Jesus is the basis from which you can wrestle with the bigger ideas that challenge our world. 

From the garden onward, God’s goal is always to reconcile the world in relationship with Himself. And the calling for every Christian is to spread that great message of reconciliation with God, through Jesus Christ. 

After a long and challenging day, I get to go home to the love of my life, my bride, my honey.  As I drive down Eglinton Avenue and up Winston Churchill Boulevard, I experience a growing excitement to spend time with the person who fills my tank and recharges my batteries. It’s the same way in the spiritual life. Our God is the source of joy and the strength for us. As we spend time with Him, we are renewed in the inner person. 

When the realities of a chaotic world start to threaten your inner peace, go back to the ONE who alone can recharge your soul. He’s your first, best and greatest friend, your forgiver, and Great Shepherd.

 Shalom,
 
Pastor Deric


God’s Heart for Children

Samuel, Timothy and A Boy with An Evil Spirit
 
Who could argue that God has a big heart for children? Who could argue that evil has unleashed its power to destroy the image of God in all the children of the world? Who can argue with the power of Jesus to rescue and keep children on God’s team? Let me show you what I mean from the story of three different children in the Bible. Samuel, Timothy, and a boy with an unclean spirit. (Mark 9)
 
  1. Samuel’s story is a favourite in the Old Testament. The Bible records that his mother, Hannah, prayed for a child and God granted her request. Hannah subsequently dedicated the boy to the Lord. “For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore, I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.

 

Samuel represents the ideal for our children. They are bequeathed to godly parents who dedicate them to serve the Lord all the days of their lives. And I don’t mean just in “official” service in the “Temple.” A Christian parents’ aim is to raise their children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). Ideal or not, God called and blessed the boy, Samuel.

 

  1. Timothy was the young apprentice of the Apostle Paul, who said of him that he had a “sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in his grandmother, Lois and his mother, Eunice and now, dwells in Timothy as well.” Elsewhere Paul commended Timothy as one who knew the Scriptures from childhood. Clearly, he learned the Word of God from his grandmother and mother. Because his father is absent from the story, we are left to assume that Timothy grew up in a less than ideal home. A family missing a mom, or a dad is less than ideal. Ideal or not, God called and blessed the boy, Timothy.

 

  1. The story of the demonized boy in Mark Chapter 9 reminds us that evil doesn’t discriminate when it comes to children. Children are susceptible to the working of evil forces. And very often those who love them the most are left seemingly powerless to keep children safe from the effect of evil. This is the worst-case scenario for a child. Both parent and child were tortured by the devil. And the disciples, who were sent by Jesus to cast out demons, could not help this devastated family. But along comes Jesus and with a simple word casts out the demon. Jesus also placed a boundary around this boy, so that the devil could never enter him again. Ideal or not, God rescued and blessed the boy for life.
 
My favourite part of the story of the demonized boy is in Mark 9:27 where we are told that, “Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.” That’s the key to God’s best for us all. Whether you were raised in the ideal home, an imperfect home or you have lived as a spiritually tortured person, Jesus will take you by the hand and lift you up. God’s grace is not extended on the basis of our family of origin. Jesus came into the world extending His hand to whomever would take it. And when we do, He lifts us up. Let’s follow the example of Jesus and lift others up, especially our children.
 
Lifting you up in prayer church family!
 
Pastor Deric